Speaking in the Dáil this morning, Sinn Féin deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD, slammed the Taoiseach for targeting young people out of work for the harshest lash in Budget 2014.
Deputy McDonald said that the legality of any measure,
which discriminates on the basis of age must be questioned in light of existing
The Dublin Central TD said:
“Since Fine Gael and Labour took up the reins of government there are 18,000 less young people working in the economy.
“Some 1,700 people are emigrating from this state every week. The vast majority are young, educated and underemployed.
“Mothers, fathers and grandparents throughout this state watched yesterday’s budget, hoping against hope that government would provide some hope that their children and grandchildren will not be forced to join the lengthening queues at Irish airports.
“Instead Fine Gael and Labour has set out a range of brutal measures aimed specifically at the youth of this state, none more startling than the slashing of the Job Seeker’s Allowance for under 25s.
“Government has now very clearly decided that the youth of Ireland will carry the can for the mistakes of this government and the last.
“Having failed to create the environment within which our young people can flourish, Fine Gael and Labour now want rid of them.
“Yesterday the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation announced a package of job creation measures. This was an opportunity for Government to put youth employment front and centre, yet they failed to do so. There is just one minor mention of young people in the measures committed to.
“A cut of up to a third to the Jobseekers payment for people under-25 sends an unmistakeable message to young Irish people that this Government regards them, not as the future of this country but as a burden.
“The legality of any measure, which discriminates on the basis of age must be questioned in light of existing equality legislation. Did the government seek the view of the Attorney General on this cut before it was announced?
“Government needs to come clean you admit what is now obvious to all, that they just like Fianna Fáil before them, continues to embrace forced emigration as a policy choice?
“Labour and Fine Gael claim this measure is designed to incentivise young people to take up jobs or training as if those young people are on social welfare as a ‘lifestyle choice’. The question is: training for what? Where are the jobs? Where is the government’s plan to get the 66,163 young people currently on the live register back into decent paid full time employment?”